In the aftermath of the Sutherland Springs church shootings, just how far can – or should – other churches go to protect themselves from something similar?
When the sheriff of Williamson County, north of Austin, announced he would hold a summit where church leaders could discuss how to deal with security concerns at religious services, he had no idea that hundreds of pastors and congregants would sign on. Sheriff Robert Chody told the Austin American-Statesman, “I’m not gonna sit here and have a debate about gun control: we need to do something now.”
Chody says more than 450 people, representing 125 churches, plan to attend the summit in Georgetown this Sunday. He says some churches don’t want to allow worshipers to carry weapons into their sanctuary, while others will choose to rely on armed members for a portion of their security needs.
“We’re not here to dictate what you should do,” Chody says. “Our message is, if you’re not going to do one implementation of another, what is your course of action? What are you doing to protect your parishioners?”
Chody says even in churches where congregants legally carry guns, and do so with the blessing of the church, he encourages vetting members before adding them to a security team.
“You may have somebody who’s qualified [to carry a gun,] but doesn’t have the temperament in your belief, to represent your congregation,” Chody says.
The summit will be held Sunday November 19 from 3-5 p.m. At Celebration Church, 601 Westinghouse Rd., Georgetown, Texas.
Written by Shelly Brisbin.